The truffles we grow are both mélanosporum and aestivum. Cultivated in the old-fashioned way over nearly two hectares, our black, Périgord truffles are available from December to March, whereas the white, summer truffles are harvested between mid-May to mid-July.
We use specially trained truffle dogs to find the truffles. To ensure that we end up with the best quality - and quantity - of truffles, we train our hounds ourselves – like Iris, seen here, a female Cairn terrier, who was the first to discover the black gold on our plantations. When Iris died, two years ago, we replaced her with Poupette, a young female cocker spaniel, who is combines the quality of a hard worker with the boundless energy of youth.
Reinforcing the dog’s work, we humans can also locate truffle sites – as seen by my father, here – because certain flies like to lay their eggs near ripe truffles, which tend to hatch around harvest time, so the sight of a cloud of flies can generally indicate the presence of the fungus.
Rats are attracted by the smell of truffles, and sometimes they eat the smaller truffles breaking through the surface, or they can nibble on larger specimens.